Up-and-coming middleweights Luis Arias and Arif “The Predator” Magomedov will square off in a 10-round fight that will take place on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev II undercard on June 17 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, promoters Roc Nation Sports and Main Events have announced.
Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) will defend his regional belt against Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round fight that will open the HBO PPV telecast (9 p.m. ET).
Arias, 26, of Milwaukee, is excited to finally get the exposure he has been hoping for.
“Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it’s here and I’m ready,” Arias said. “It’s time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time. My record shows it, but now I’ll get the chance to prove it.
“I’m coming to make a statement on June 17. My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born.”
Magomedov, 24, a Russia native fighting out of Los Angeles, suffered an upset 10-round decision loss to Andrew Hernandez last May and bounced back with a second-round knockout of Chris Herrmann in November. Now he is looking to win his second fight in a row against an opponent with a growing reputation.
“My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this,” said Magomedov, who is in the managerial stable of Egis Klimas, who also handles such notable fighters as Kovalev and junior lightweight world titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko said. “Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him. I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras. Be ready for ‘The Predator’ on June 17.”
Said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, Magomedov’s promoter: “Arif has been ready for this fight since the first Kovalev-Ward card in November. We are so pleased to finally give him this match-up. This is a huge opportunity for both Arif and Luis to test themselves on such a big stage. A win or a good showing by either fighter could catapult them in the rankings and put them on the map in this stacked middleweight division.”
In putting the Ward-Kovalev II pay-per-view undercard together, Roc Nation Sports will put on its own fight, junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux’s mandatory defense against Moises Flores in the co-feature, and Main Events will put on its own fight. The Main Events bout is not set yet.
But the fourth fight for the telecast meant the two promotional companies, who have great animosity between them, had to work together to match two of their fighters and they came up with Arias-Magomedov.
“If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn’t been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports’ Luis Arias and Main Events’ Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire,” Roc Nation executive Michael Yormark said.